All Online Digital Roads Lead to Google Plus

cabraham
Chris Abraham Principal Consultant, Gerris digital

Posted on May 1st 2014

All Online Digital Roads Lead to Google Plus

Google can’t get any of us to use Google Plus, but they’re still trying. And they’re pushing hard. Google’s closing in on its goal of being federated across all of its properties, so be acutely aware. They’re triangulating us all and will soon be able to identify not merely what “you” — someone like you, a demographic generality — want, need, and desire, but what you, yourself, (or me, Chris Abraham), want in particular, down to, at most, your person (and the maximum 7.8 square meters around you).

Google PlusRejoice! I am no longer a 35–44 year-old white, college-educated, man, living in Metro Washington, I am 44-year-old Christopher James Abraham, who lives between Columbia Heights and Arlington Views, off of Columbia Pike in South Arlington, VA, who owns guns, motorcycles, spends money on eBay and Amazon, and loves eating fish tacos at Taqueria el Poblano during their weekday happy hour from 4-7pm — and many other very specific details of my life (like the fact that I attended the Nation’s Gun Show at the Dulles Expo Center).

Rejoice! Soon, Google’s reason for being will become truly manifest: all Google “organic” search results will be curated for my specific proclivities and all ads over all Google-associated and Google-partnered advertising networks, both online and offline, will be tailor-suited, bespoke, based on both my literal history of past searches, emails, subscriptions, and purchases but also based on a lot of cross-referencing that will try to predict my current, short, medium, and long term purchase and search decisions based on other close, similar users and algorithms that can now access petabytes, exabytes, zettabytes, and maybe even yottabytes real-time.

What does it mean? Well, I don’t care about my privacy, really, just my convenience. Then again, I am one of those guys who consider Minority Report to be more of a promise than a threat. I am one of those guys who grew up on The Well and the Meta Network, online communities that enforced real names anyway.

So, I am running full speed into the arms of big data to the extent that I recently gave up my Apple iPhone 5, a superior device, as my primary mobile device in favor of the new LG Google Nexus 5, a terribly-flawed-but-Google-integrated smart phone. But I am sold on the Google Empire because they stalk me so well.

The problem with the iPhone, as far as I am concerned, is how balkanized the phone is. It’s like the US: there is a Nation-State, Apple iOS, but the true power lies in the States, the Apps. Google Android phones are ruled by a federated, unified, Google OS, Android, with the Apps being mere applications under Android, with many of the top useful apps on Android devices being fully integrated Google Apps.

In the last six months, Google has made a lot of progress bringing us all in from the cold: from YouTube, from Google Search, from Picasa, Gmail, Google Apps for Business, Android phones, Google Play, Google Maps, Google Drive, Google Calendar, Blogger, Google Hangout (née Google Talk), Orkut, and even Google Groups.

To wit, my friend asked me if I had ever been to the Tilted Kilt, a Hooters-like bar wherein the girls wear very revealing variations of the Scottish Kilt. I remember having been there years ago while in Atlanta. I searched “tilted kilt chris abraham” and the photos I had taken popped up in images, images that I believe I might have shared on Google+ years ago. Until recently, these sorts of deep content had been disappeared and lock-boxed into the bellies of Google’s various properties for whatever reason (maybe to not freak people out, so that they felt more comfortable sharing on Plus without always ending up in search); now, more and more of Google’s users’ content will be the first content to show up on top (as long as the content is set to public).

What’s more, Google’s always been savvier than this. Google has always gamed serendipity by serving up search results that include the people who are in your Google network, be it in your Gmail Inbox, your Contacts, your Google+, Picasa, or through any connections. This has always been the case. My friends are always popping me notes saying how small the world is because how often they bump into my content when searching for information on social media, single speed biking, digital PR, marketing, motorcycles, or firearms — yes, indeed, the world is small, but Google’s mad skills are making it (at least appear) smaller and smaller within your circle of friends and larger social networks. And, circa 2014, this will become even more refined and as close as real time as is “humanly” possible.

In many ways, the moment you step into an online world as curated by Google’s algorithms, you’re indeed entering a sim, stepping into a simulacrum of sorts, one of which Narcissus would be proud: the perfect reflection of your hopes, wants, needs, world views, passions, and desires. We’ll all become the Kings of our online experience.

The Emperor’s new clothes; the emperor has no clothes!

When Google buys applications, web properties, new and cool websites, and all the rest, profiting directly from those acquisitions is not what they’re interested in. Google’s only interested in heading you, as an online denizen, off at the pass. What they want is to flush all of us online grouse out of the bushes so that they can finally get a good bead on us. When Google finally gets us all locked in their sights, they’ll be able to finally identify each and every one of us all the way down to as close to our social security, passport, and drivers license numbers as possible.

And that’s an excellent thing if you’re willing and able to remain safely ensconced in the warm, soft, velvety embrace of the Matrix — like me — though I am not sure if this will reassure everyone as much as it does me. And, since every action has a reaction, Google’s search engine algorithm has a profitable flaw: it tends to highlight and prioritize popular content. And, what content is generally most popular?

Salacious gossip, embarrassing revelations, revealing photos, humiliations, and defamations. The dark side, of course, but also not Google’s problem: they just give the public what they want, just like anyone else — and if they didn’t, someone else would — all the while running profitable inline, contextual, banner, pre-roll, and video ads.

And all of this fun stuff is pinned to Google+.

As the saying goes, “all roads lead to Rome.” And Google’s Rome is Plus. Now that Google has us all hooked, they’re integrating all of these properties into the new Google+, whether or not you are currently a registered member. If you’ve invested in Google in any way, you’re a potential Plus member; and, if you know what’s good for you, you’ll just jump in feet first. It’ll improve your participation everywhere else, trust me, starting with the world’s favorite site: YouTube. As you may know, Google’s changed access to YouTube commenting to prefer Google+ members.

Google’s almost completed their new roads project: all roads lead to Plus. Resistance is futile. Still fighting? This is quicksand mate, stop struggling and just relax into Google’s vision for your media future, both online and off. It’s beyond your control.

(Roads to G+ / shutterstock)

cabraham

Chris Abraham

Principal Consultant, Gerris digital

Chris Abraham is a leading expert in digital, including online reputation management (ORM), Internet privacy, social media marketing and digital PR with a focus on blogger outreach, blogger engagement and Internet crisis response. Chris is Principal Consultant of Gerris digtial.  A pioneer in online social networks and publishing, with a natural facility for anticipating the next big thing, Chris is an Internet analyst, Web strategy consultant and advisor to major brands. Chris specializes in content syndication, online collaboration, blogging, and consumer generated media. Chris Abraham was named a Top 50 Social Media Power Influencer by Forbes, #1 PR2.0 Influencer by Traackr and Top 10 social media influencers by Marketwire. For what it’s worth, Chris has a Klout of 78 the last time he looked.

See Full Profile >

Comments

Seth Baum
Posted on May 2nd 2014 at 7:05PM

Completely agree with your article.  Bought the Nexus 5 for the same reason.  Can't seem to get Google+ to cooperate with me on a few things (like which of my pages there is my "default", etc.) but over time it will sort out.  

Here's a splash of irony though considering your post:  1) I had to use Twitter to login here because pressing the Google "login" kept giving me a 404 error - something is up in the API for Oauth it appears and  2) In my profile setup for this sight I could put in twitter handle, facebook, linkedin profile - there was no entry space for my Google+ profile page.

Maybe #1 and #2 are in some way my fault - but if not...

cabraham
Posted on May 16th 2014 at 1:09PM

The reason why Facebook stil dominates is because it isn't willful, it's passive-aggressive.  I have piled in tons of active and past email addresses that are associated with me onto Facebook -- LinkedIn does that same thing -- and so no matter what, Facebook and LinkedIn know me across the known universe. Heavy users on Google have a Gmail account and AT LEAST one Google Apps account, so I am having the same crappy experience you are: my experience on Google (and G+) is completely schitzophrenic. My "verified" G+ account is through my cabraham@gmail.com account but I also have G+ accounts I don't use on my chris@gerriscorp.com, chris@unison.net, and chris@thesocialmediamontly.com accounts... it's insane. And it needs to be fixed -- there must be a better system. Until then, #fail, as you say.

ian143
Posted on May 9th 2014 at 7:54PM

I agree and I saw the light when G+ first launched though the Facebook is a stubborn nut to crack. I think in time G+ will have the ability to become a more attractive outlet in social media once users get over their fear of a social media network that doesn't look like Zuckerberg's mess.

cabraham
Posted on May 16th 2014 at 1:05PM

One of the thing I hate about G+ is how hard it makes to to cross-post to G+. I tend to do all of my content-creation using Instagram and G+ is not one of the sites I can cross-post to. I know that Instagram is a Facebook property; however, G+ blocks this sort of posting on everything -- except HootSuite and G+. Rule #1 -- you can't force our behavior -- we on the Internet tend to be both stubborn and a lot Libertarian.